The following story is for adults and contains descriptions of sexual contact between teenage males. If you are a minor it is illegal for you to read, or if you find the subject objectionable, read no further. All the characters, events and settings are the product of my over-active imagination. I hope you like it. Mail me or if literary analysis interests you visit Eliot's Space.



by eliot moore

Chapter Twenty-three

We'll See


Shaking the Water Off, Thursday June 2nd

A graceful fourteen-year-old loping past shop fronts manuvering around the odd shopper intent on getting to the shelter of the next colorful awning. The tawny blond hair is swept back into a mane. There is a youthful spring to his long easy strides. The boy and his companions are a familiar sight to the local residents. Their energy is infectious and they are a welcome contrast to the other teenagers slouched outside local hangouts. Wednesday's sunshine had given way to a flood of rain that seemed to settle in and dampen Daniel's spirits along with his sweats. Running, never a pleasure, was even less so when it is through puddles. He ran mostly by himself now. Even Laine ran with the pack. It was a competitive thing for both Laine and Simon. Daniel rarely liked the pace they set so it was easier to run by himself and enjoy his own thoughts.

There was little left to look forward to now. Certainly not the inevitable term exams. Simon and Laine were focused on their final track meet but football spring training was over so Daniel preferred to think about his summer. His thoughts shifted to his time at camp and the summer job Karl had promised him. Daniel was grateful. At fifteen the best job he could have hoped for was delivering newspapers or fliers. He envied Laine. Laine's dad was finally back to work and he had managed to get Laine on to his work site for part of the summer. Mandy was desperate to find something better than babysitting. Daniel wished he could help her. Thoughts of Mandy and Laine brightened his mood like a momentary ray of sunshine cutting through the heavy banks of clouds. Despite what he fervently hoped was the worst year of his life, Daniel was feeling lucky in love. Daniel tried to be optimistic as the rain drizzled down on his shoulders. Friday would only be a black lining to Daniel's silver cloud.

Friday and the school Casino Night marking the end of the year's mentorship program approached. Denver wanted to go to this last Freshie Party. Daniel could not understand why. It was hard enough seeing the posters spring up around the school encouraging the eleventh graders to participate in the June fundraising auction. It felt wrong to Daniel after everything that had happened to him.The odds were that the all the seniors that had harassed and humiliated him throughout the year would be there at the end.

The rain stopped abruptly as Daniel turned on to the short cut he had adopted. One of the wags on the cross country team had christened it Murrell's Wormhole because it let him warp his way into the lead. The detour took Daniel through the quiet neighborhoods to the east of Riverview High. It was, in fact, very close to where Garrett lived his bastard father, but Daniel was not aware of this. The wormhole only eliminated two kilometers from the run. The others would catch up to him just about the time he hit the school yard. Simon was the only one who was annoyed by this. He was convinced Daniel was just being lazy. Simon was absolutely right.

Daniel was resigned to going to the last party. Throughout the winter it had sounded like a good way to end the year. He had even paid the silly fines of the Freshie Court knowing the money went to the final party. Jake, Frank and Spencer had changed that. Frank and Spencer would not be there of course. The school had at least seen to that, but Daniel shied away from the idea of being trapped with so many twelfth graders. Daniel would rather be with his circle of friends now; people with whom he could feel safe. Daniel could easily have spent the evening alone with Denver.

Denver worried when the bear got too close though. Jake still shadowed him at school. His former senionr knew Daniel was frightened of facing Jake. Daniel thought he had kept this from everyone except Mandy and Denver. They knew him too well. Daniel did not have to say anything, his body told the story. Jake's friends had hurt him and he still trembled when Jake was near. Mandy and Daniel had to pass Jake in the hallways after their English class. The first time that had happened Daniel had thought he would have to shield and support Mandy; but when they turned into the stairwell it had been Daniel who sank to the floor shaking. Mandy had held him close. Daniel had felt humiliated.

Again, during his Resource Time with Denver, Jake had unexpectedly sat at a table near them. It was not the twelfth-grader's room. Daniel had tried to control it, but he knew Denver could not miss his shaking pen or the way he held his head in his hand. Denver spoke to the supervising teacher and she sent Jake on his way. Denver pretended not to notice the tears on Daniel's face as he continued with his work.

Daniel picked up the pace and began to ignore the puddles. The sun broke through the clouds but there was still an oppresive stillness to the heavy air that made breathing an extra chore. Daniel knew Denver was worried that he had lost his nerve. That bothered Daniel. He could take care of himself.

Daniel had answered Denver's fears when they had left the study hall that day. Jake had be sitting on a bench and called out Daniel's name. Before Denver could react Daniel had picked up a recycling barrel and hurled it directly at the senior hitting him in the face. The two boys had faced each other across a scattering of cans, bottles and the odd rotting piece of fruit as other students passed by. Whatever had been on Jake's lips died and Daniel had stood his ground until Jake walked away. As he cleaned up the trash Daniel wondered why Jake was still haunting him around the school. Did Jake imagine Daniel was interested in hearing what he wanted to say? Daniel needed him to stop. Despite Daniel's hours the councilor at the clinic as his mother had insisted, Daniel couldn't reconcile himself to Jake's continued presence.

Daniel's pace faltered at the memory and the water soaking through his clothes made him shiver. He couldn't stop the fear that washed over him in waves, but if his mother could stand up to his son of a bitch father then Daniel could learn deal with Jake. Daniel glanced over his shoulder and caught sight of the others closing in on him. Laine and Simon had not shown up for the run. Just thinking of Laine brought a smile to Daniel's lips. Daniel wondered where his friends had disappeared to. He looked forward to the hot shower even though it would be Laine-less. As the other runners caught up to him Daniel picked up his pace again.


The Twisted Mirror, Thursday afternoon

The Troy and Denver sat in the Echo surrounded by the debris of Quiznos and the echoes of a conversation that had been going in circles for the last twenty minutes. Denver's mission had taken them to the far end of the student parking lot and despite the rolled down windows they were starting to sweat. Troy had not been able to talk Denver out of his plan. It was just more futility. It seemed inevitable that he was back sitting in a car with Denver dealing with a mess created by Denver's insufferable pet. Troy watched the raindrops drip down the windshield as smarter people than he made their escape from the high school. Troy pulled the straw he had been worrying out of his mouth. He turned to Denver and asked, "So how's your love life?"

"Denver's love life is totally awesome." Troy suddenly found Mark's belligerent face thrust between them. "Would you like me to draw you a picture?"

"Get the fuck out of my face! I don't want to hear that shit!" Mark creeped Troy out, it did not help Troy's disposition when the gay boy leaned the other way and planted a wet kiss on Denver's cheek. Troy sighed with relief when the eleventh grader sat back in his seat.

"Fuck me" Troy muttered under his breath.

"Don't say it Mark!" Denver growled a warning.

"You just never listen to me and this time we are going to be in deep doo doo." Troy muttered again.

"doo doo?" Mark intruded again.

"He is not going to get away with this." Denver replied. "Community service, what a joke, pushed it all under the table like it was nothing, so stop trying to talk me out of this everyone." Denver was very bitter and as usual he would not listen to reason.

"It's always the same with you Denver. Christ, you get something into your head and it all gets fucked up. Somebody tells somebody to do something. Dude, stash the bottles...."

"You couldn't even say your name."

"Shut up!" Three agonized voices chorused from the back seat.

Denver and Troy swung around to look at their three companions scowling in the back seat. They glanced at each other and turned back to eye the empty Mustang. A small grin played across Denver's lips but he repressed it when he felt Troy's eyes on him.

"You two natter on like my grandparents" Laine grumbled softly. He was upset that Denver wanted to handle this himself. He took a final pull at his drink and stuffed it into the empty bag. An occasional drop of water falling through the open window landed on his arm. There was a long silence as everyone contemplated what was about to happen. A bead of sweat rolled down Laine's back and he adjusted his pants. Laine realized he would rather have been running with Daniel. Daniel had probably turned back to the school by now. Definitely the best part of the run, that. Daniel would make the turn from his short cut and for a glorious two blocks Laine would be treated to the sight of Daniel's flexing ass. In good weather he would wear an unfortunately baggy pair of silver shorts, but today Laine would be missing a treat. Daniel would be wearing his grey sweats over a jock strap. Then there was the shower. Laine adjusted his pants and looked over to the red Mustang. Laine was not sure Daniel would appreciate what they were doing. Laine worried Daniel would let him hear about it late. A noxious odor rolled past him like an oily cloud and Laine suddenly exclaimed, "Mother of God!"

"Fucking son of a bitch!" Troy exclaimed and fumbled with the door handle desperately. Despite the light drizzle Troy tumble out of the car and stalk away. Denver watched as Troy swatted the air as if a wasp was harassing him. The car returned to silence.

"That" Denver offered heavily "was no gay fart."

"Jesus" Laine added in wonder.

"Sorry" Simon replied with no evidence of contrition in his voice. Mark leaned his head against the back of the seat and closed his eyes. The air in the small car was unusually still. Laine distracted himself with the memory of Daniel and their night together. A man could come to crave that kind of freedom. Laine wondered if it would be too obvious to ask Daniel how often his mother went away. Was it wrong to wish she would go away for a weekend, Laine asked himself.

Another small burst erupted from Simon's side of the bench. Laine did not have the will to intervene when Mark turned viciously on the small boy and started beating him on the shoulder. Denver turned around and started slapping his boyfriend on the back to get him to settle down. Laine tried to hold on to the image of water trickling down Daniel's back. Mark's fury and Simon's giggles ended abruptly when Troy slipped back in the car.

"There he is. Shit, I was beginning to think he figured we would be coming for him." The car was silent. They watched Jake move to the car. When the Mustang pulled out Denver started the Echo and after a moment followed Jake out of the student parking lot.

It seemed the Mustang was heading in the direction of Central High where Frank and Spencer were finishing the last weeks of the semester. Laine was amazed the three boys could even look at each other. After they cleared the chaos of students leaving school the traffic thinned until they moved closer to the downtown core. From time to time Laine could catch a glimpse of Daniel's apartment building. Laine had wrapped his arm around Daniel's broad chest and felt it rise and fall in a troubled sleep while he nuzzled Daniel's fresh-washed hair. Seeing Jake in the parking lot had renewed his anger and resolve to see this through.

It was a silent progress that took the two cars uptown past the university campus and down to the intersection that would have taken the boys to Daniel's apartment. Laine wondered if the other boys were as uncertain about what they intended to do as he was. It had been easy to give way to the impulse for revenge when he had first listened to Simon's outrage that Monday morning after Daniel had been hurt. Anger came easily when Laine was with Daniel in the hospital. In the summer sunlight following the rain it was different. Here they were, four boys bent on revenge and a fifth boy, well Troy was hard to understand. Simon had made it clear the arrogant senior had been no friend to Daniel. Perhaps they were all there for their own reasons. Simon had obliged his request to be included without comment. Denver had eyed him speculatively and Mark had offered a knowing smile Laine resented. He was Daniel's friend. Laine did not feel called on to explain himself to Mark any more than Simon did. They were Daniel's friends.

The Mustang turned right as Jake continued to follow the path to the other school. Simon liked driving past the university campus. Three young women stood at a bus station in an animated conversation. So much to see, Simon thought smugly. It was not like high school either. There were no dress codes here. Hip-hugging jeans painted on heart-shaped asses and halter tops. Simon adjusted his pants slightly. The Echo slowed down next to a girl not much older than Denver on a crotch rocket waiting to pull into the traffic. Simon gaped at her and she condescended to smile at him. Simon was so going to university. The silence finally got to Simon. "So like do you think this is going to be an old fashioned rumble Darry?"

"I'm Dally if you don't mind."

"No you are Darry. We have been through this before so don't start with me. Bad-ass Troy here can be Dally." Mark explained patiently. Laine hid his sudden confusion.

Simon leaned forward and tapped Troy on the shoulder to get his attention. "Yes, you can be Dally, that's good. Of course at the end the cops gun you down." Troy grunted his response to this. "Don't worry Troy, we will all feel really bad about it. Won't we Laine?" Simon turned to smile at Laine.

"What the heck are you all talking about?" Laine asked letting his curiosity get the better of him. Any reply was cut off by a sudden lurch as Denver stamped on the brake.

"Fuck, he is going to notice us now." Denver muttered irritably.

"You don't think an Echo tail gating him for seventeen blocks might not have given the game away?" Troy's voice held a trace of his amusement. the three boys in the back seat leaned forward and Laine poked his head out the window to get a better view. "Nice boys, very subtle. Why don't the four of you run a Chinese fire drill around him while we wait for the light to change." Laine pulled his head back into the car.

When the light changed tires shrieked briefly as Jake cut across a lane to make an unexpected turn back up town. Denver recklessly followed him on his new course. "Any ideas as to what Jake is doing?" Denver wondered aloud.

Troy shook his head slightly before responding. "Nope, but if he has decided not to pick up that meat head Frank it is all for the good. I wasn't looking forward to meeting up with the three of them at once. The kids would get hurt."

"Who are you calling a kid?" Simon whined.

"He's backtracking." After the first turn Jake it was clear to the boys that Jake was making no effort to lose them. They followed him through the heavy afternoon commuter traffic. When the Mustang signalled a turn into an alley Denver started cursing under his breath.

"What is it?" Troy quized him.

"The arrogant ass hole." Denver replied and when he had a chance he turned the Echo down the narrow lane. Simon and Laine took in the barred doors and faded red dumpsters as they passed slowly down the grungy alley.

Simon broke the silence suddenly. "Is this where it happened?" His voice was quiet. Laine understood. The alley took on a gloomy cast in his mind and when he turned to gaze out the back windshield the shadows leading down to the sunlight street they had just left oppressed him. He looked up the length of the alley to where the traffic flashed along the far street. They passed a woman collapsing cardboard boxes beside a dumpster. When Denver stopped the Echo at the end of the alley Laine reflected on how busy it all seemed. He marvelled that there had been nobody to interrupt the unequal fight.

Denver waited impatiently for the traffic to ease. Jake had moved across the street into the alley behind the Brass Lantern and Denver could tell that he had stopped the red Mustang. Jake was not going to run. He was there waiting for Denver. Denver squeezed the wheel impatiently.

"Leave this to me please." Denver told the other boys as he eased the Echo to a stop two car lengths from where Jake stood leaning against his car. Denver did not wait to find out if the others would agree. He was intent on Jake. He stopped a bare meter short of Jake with his fists bunched by his sides. Jake remained slouched against the car.

"So you five are going to all beat on me?"

Denver looked back and realized the other four had ignored him and arrayed themselves behind him. Well, they all felt the same way about Jake. Denver turned back to Jake. His voice was calm when he replied. "No they are here to carry me away later," Jake nodded.

"I thought you boys might like to take the scenic tour. We drove in a little too far." Jake pointed back along the ground Denver had just crossed. "We should have started back there where you turned. I don't know. Frank and Spencer got pretty carried away. I'm surprised he got this far. I wonder where he thought he was going."

Denver shook his head. He knew where Daniel had been headed. "Frank and Spencer was it? Nothing to do with you Jake?" Denver fired a punch at Jake and Jake unexpectedly took the blow. Denver stepped back lightly waiting for Jake's response. Jake raised his hands and guarded him self half heartedly. Otherwise he made no move to respond to Denver's attack.

"Oh I layed into him a bit. He made me mad, you know? So do you want to hear what happened next?" Jake dropped his guard and stared around the alley. "I think it was here. Shit I was pretty wasted." Jake checked the corner of his mouth for blood before gazing further up the street. He waved vaguelly toward the end of the alley where Karl's shiny bins were lined neatly in a row. "Might have been further, I don't think so though. Sure this is the spot. Something about that door over there seems familiar to me, you know?" Jake turned back to Denver and Denver lashed out with a punch that sent Jake realing toward one side of the alley. Denver followed the punch with another and then he realized Jake did not intend to fight back. He began weeping in frustration. Jake stared back at Denver impassively.

"You bastard how could you do that to him?" He forced the words out. Denver's chest felt like it could burst.

Jake shook his head slightly and met Denver's eyes with a cold stare. "Don't play the innocent with me Hawk. You were bidding on that tight piece of boy pussy for the same reason I was. He would have been mine one second more. You're just pissed I did what you wanted to do." The words galvanized Denver into a fresh flurry of punches. When he saw that Jake would still do no more than reflexivly protect his face, Denver paused a second time. He was panting now. Jakes words hurt badly.

"I'm not you I would never have beaten Daniel. You hurt him you bastard, but he will be better. I'll see to that."

Jake's nose was bleeding now. When he wiped a trickle off his upper lip he examined it curiously before egging Denver on. "You love him do you? Have you fucked him yet Denver? I'll bet you have."

"Fuck you"

"Well I've had every part of that sweet body Denver. My cock has been down his throat; hell, I had his tight ass and left my jizz dripping out of his gaping hole." The words left Denver reeling. He did not know if he should believe Jake.

Jake yelled over to where Troy and Mark stood next to the two smaller boys. "Do you guys want a piece of me too? Go for it!"

Jake's words hurt Simon and he growled his anger at Jake. Simon moved forward but Troy's grip sank into his shoulder. Simon turned back, punched Troy and then tried to pull free. Troy yanked Simon off his feet and growled at him to stay where he was.

It was who Laine broke free from Mark's warning hand and barreled into the tall boy screaming. Denver watched Laine drive the unresisting Jake to the ground. The slender boy straddled Jake's chest and began methodically pounding his fist into the eighteen-year-old's face. When Laine tried to bash Jake's head onto the pavement Denver pulled him off and swung him back toward Mark. Laine turned back once but gave up when Denver shoved him violently away with one hand.

Jake stood up and patiently waited for Denver to continue. Jake's left eye was swollen and his ear was red. Denver eyed him sadly before stepping closer so that his next words would be private.

"Damn right I love him." They were the same height and Denver stared directly into Jake's unblinking gaze. Jake's breath was ragged. "You lose Jake, you lose. If I am lucky I'll have Daniel the rest of my life but you threw that away you selfish bastard. You will never be anything to him now but a bad memory." Denver pulled back to hit Jake once more but he gave up. He pushed Jake into the wall violently and Jake collapsed to the ground. Denver stepped close and whispered softly in Jake's ear, "You piece of waste, you and your friends are not worth it. I get you Jake. Its good you feel bad now, but you are not going to get out of this that easily. I'm not going to help you make it right. "

Denver turned back to where Mark and Troy stood beside Simon. Laine had disappeared somewhere. That worried Denver a moment. "Laine?"

"Back there" Mark responded with a gesture. Denver shrugged at Troy acknowledging that Troy had been right. Denver did not feel better and he had changed nothing. It seemed pointless to go after Frank and Spencer. Denver's eyes spoke his inner turmoil when they moved over to Mark.

Despite his angry response Denver was not sure if he really was any different than Jake. Mark read the look and felt compassion for his lover. "No" he replied and Denver nodded, but Mark did not believe he had been reassured. Denver walked over to where Laine was leaning against a wall, a puddle of undigested sub at his feet. Denver put his hands on Laine's tense shoulders and squeezed gently. Laine turned and buried his tear-filled eyes in Denver's chest.


When a tree falls, Thursday evening

Denver came in early to help Karl prepare for the dinner crowd. The Brass Lantern was in crisis at the moment. Eddie was still in jail and wouldn't be out until the fall. Karl would not consider replacing him. He had hired Daniel, but would not let the fourteen-year-old ninth grader work on school nights yet. The rest of the staff was working more, but the pressure seemed to have fallen on Denver. Karl and Denver worked contentedly in a familiar dance around the kitchen. Denver could only spare a few minutes in the kitchen. Most of the time he had to cover Eddie's usual job out front. Denver went back out to check on the customers and sit at a table over some school work. Karl's regulars could be counted on to keep an eye on the till for him, but it wasn't fair to stretch it too long.

Denver didn't want to go to the party. The year had been the nightmare he had schemed to avoid. The party was just an opportunity for the school to delude itself about the success of its Smaller Learning Communities Program. It was a chance for student leaders to take an undeserved bow for managing the spirit-building fun of Freshie Year. It was a chance for the battered ninth graders to prove what good sports they had been and laugh at their humiliations. It made Denver want to vomit. He had decided they had to make an appearance so Daniel could keep working at his fear; besides, Denver wasn't ready to face the temptation of a symbolic last night with his young friend. Despite Mark's reasurance Jake's accusation haunted Denver. Daniel was a year older and if anything the added height and muscle attracted Denver even more.

Denver was startled out of his reflections by a sudden crash in the kitchen. When he came through the door he found Karl on the floor. He turned to Saul Teller and told him to call 911 before he went to Karl's side. Karl was still with him. The old man lay on his back with a grim expression that either reflected his pain or his anger that something had stopped him in his tracks. When Karl fumbled with his pocket Denver helped him find the tiny tablets of Nitro and gave him one. Saul Teller returned and told Denver to roll him on his side. Karl never took his eyes off of Denver's face. When the ambulance collected him Karl grabbed Denver's arm in a tight grip and said, "You stay here." The eighteen-year-old had shaken his head silently and tears started to roll down his face. "You got to make the food. See we don't get robbed." Denver nodded his head and wiped his eyes. He knew Karl would have another attack worrying about his place. Saul Teller said he would go with him. Denver watched them take Karl away from the restaurant that had been his entire life.

Karl struggled to give Denver some last words of advice as they jockeyed him through the door, "What are you still standing around for? The soup's boiling over. Don't get that Doris. She's no damn good; lazy old Rasta not here when you need him." Karl finally let it go as they got him onto the side walk. Denver was a good boy. He would take care of everything.

Denver watched the ambulance pull away. He felt young and uncertain like he had when Heather Murrell had told him Daniel had been hurt. He turned back to look at Karl's place. The Brass Lantern was his responsibility now.

Denver worked his way through the entire work list and ended up with Doris. She really was not that good so he phoned Daniel as well. His young friend showed up at the busiest time with Mandy in tow. The young people helped him in the kitchen while Doris struggled out front. Beth came in when she was done hairdressing for the day and by 8:00 Denver felt free to leave for an hour.

Daniel realized he was in charge. It was a novel feeling running the kitchen while Denver was away. Daniel surprised himself when he found he could pull a few simple meals together. He worried about Karl, but he spent most of the time remembering his grandfather's final days in the hospital. He tried to keep things going the best he could. Running a restaurant was more complicated than he had thought. Beth was distracted from her concern for Denver by amusement at Daniel's kitchen performance. She confided to Mandy while they cleaned a table, "Look at him when you go back. He is trying to be exactly like Denver back there and they both try to be like Karl." To prove her point the usually light-footed Daniel plodded out of the kitchen and surveyed the room gravely. He greeted a few regulars by name and stopped to rub at a water mark Doris had made next to the till. When he grunted his annoyance and stomped back to the kitchen Mandy and Beth's laughter trailed after him.

Denver came back from the hospital with Mark and his father. Beth gave him a hug and when he found Daniel working alone in the kitchen he placed a hand on his shoulder to show his appreciation. The two worked silently together for a while. It was Daniel who broke it first. "So what happened to your hand there?"


"Is it the same nothing that happened to Laine's hand?" All Denver could do was shake his head. "I feel so useless."

Denver turned on Daniel for a moment and snapped back an angry answer. "There were three of them. You're fourteen for God sake, you did the best you could." Denver gripped Daniel's shoulder to get his attention. "You stayed there for a reason man. You did good. Don't ever forget that." Daniel nodded back wide-eyed.

"I'll come back tomorrow night to help you."

"No. We are going to the party." There was more silence.

"What about the restaurant?"

"Karl said close early." The matter was closed. "Come by at 6:00 and you can help me close at 8:00. We can get in before they close the doors at 9:00." Denver was going to see things through to the end. Daniel was silent for a while. They were working on a plate of wings and salad side by side arms almost brushing.


Let Bygones be Bygones, Friday June 3rd

In this casino, the students are the winners: Riverview High School holds Mentorship Wind-up
Riverside Journal, June 6th

The air in the Riverview High School gymnasium Friday night was filled with the clicking of plastic chips, the shouts of winners and the names of door prize winners broadcast over the loud speakers. Relaxed, friendly dealers spun out cards across the green felt blackjack tables to eager players, and crowds collected around the roulette and craps tables, everybody chatting, laughing and keeping one eye on the game.

The school has held the Casino Night for the last two years. The night has always been a hit with those in attendance, but organizers agreed that this year was one of the better affairs.

This year's casino chairman, graduate Colin Danforth, said the participation was "better than average", with school administrators, local businessmen and women and town committeemen, all on


hand to see their donations distributed to the students. Local Hotel owner James Bell said that the night celebrates the success of the school's mentoring program. Grad fund-raising efforts in September help to raise funds for the Mentorship Program and the night gives the business community an opportunity to express its pride and appreciation for the graduating students' involvement. Between $2,000 and $3,000 was raised by the good-natured freshie auction in the spring. Throughout the night, young people made jokes about heading off to the tables to spend their hard-earned tickets. The evening's $20 ticket bought one access to the gourmet buffet spread as well as starter chips. All students were automatically included in the door prize pool, which ranged from thermos bottles to MP3 payers. Winners were able to cash in their chips for prizes, all donated by local businesses. Prizes included clothing, game tickets, a Sharp 26" LCD Flat HDTV, watches, a long board, and a kayak.


While some young gamblers present appeared to be old-hands, the professional dealers were there to assist the eleventh grade students and less experienced gamblers in learning the rules-of-play. Eleventh grade Dealer Mark Yeske said during a break that, aside from the instruction that real casino dealers do not offer, the set up was authentically "casino style" and noted that the players at his table that night had been friendly yet "they treat this seriously." Behind a large island bar, uniformed barmen moved swiftly, tipping soda and juice bottles and sliding drinks. Barman Donald Erickson said the night was going "great" and that the party-goers were tipping generously.

Mother of Riverview freshman Arlo Anderson said it was her first Casino Night. "I'm having a very good time," the mother said, as she helped lay out food for the students. Glancing around the young revelers, she said, "They look very relaxed. I didn't help last year. Next year my daughter Kim will be in grade eleven. I will certainly be back to support the school. "


The party was back at the gym. It was a good thing because Daniel could not have handled the warehouse a second time. He had connected with Mandy in the gym. Money from the June auction and corporate donations had gone into creating a blow-out casino night for the graduating class and their Freshies. Daniel assumed some of the money Denver had dropped on buying him was tied up in the June party. It was just another way to feel used. Daniel came prepared to hate the party. By 11:00 he had to admit he was having a good time. The casino was fun and Daniel and Mandy found they were on a winning streak. Mandy wanted a digital player so they pooled their money and headed to the tables where the sponsors distributed prizes. Just before the party ended the biggest items would be auctioned off.

John Cobb decided it was a smaller crowd than the year before. Everyone looked like they were having fun. You could see which partners had established friendships. Not enough. Most of the seniors and freshmen kept to themselves. He was trying to pitch a new selection process at the other vice principals. It was a trick though, the freshie auction paid for the final party and all the other incentives. The school hooked the seniors into participating by giving them the sense of control and ownership that the Freshie Year allowed them. Karen was right about Freshie Year though; the school let too much slip by. The vice principals had to find a way through that mess. He glanced over in her direction and left his colleagues to spend some time with her. She was in her glory surrounded by a small crowd of ninth graders. A number of them greeted him politely when he came up. The students drifted away when he stayed with their teacher; vice principals were not that popular.

"I chased your posse away, sorry." He smiled at her. They were getting close. It had hurt when he thought he had lost her.

"No I'm sorry they don't give you much of a chance. Whatever else I think about the Community concept your team has done a lot for these kids. In the next three years they will get to know you better." She looked around the gym at the excited ninth graders and clumps of seniors. Eleventh graders manned the games tables and canteens. They seemed to enjoy their role. "This is actually pretty cool John." He agreed. The June mentorship activities were already in full swing and it was too late to talk about making changes. The school police team had even sided with the rest of the administrative team against him on the issue of the summer Freshie parties. They liked the warehouse parties better than the previous house parties. There was a gang truce in place and they could screen everyone coming and going. The police pushed for another warehouse party to replace the nightmare caused by summer house parties. With East High and Central beginning to copy Riverview High's program the police had an even bigger problem on their hands. Still the schools had to get a handle on the abuse. Well, as everyone told him, that was why he got the big bucks.

John watched a scuffle break out between a few seniors and a couple of grade nines. It was fairly close, but it ended before the security guards could intervene. God everyone was here to have fun, why were there always a few who had to spoil it? Karen interrupted his thoughts. "It sticks in my craw that those three are walking around loose. They should be in jail." John privately agreed. It had been his first bad moment with Donaldson. He had caved though.

"You're right Karen. Funny though, that little ninth grader there was scrapping with that senior just a month or so ago." The red-faced boy was being teased back into good humor by two seniors; Nolan, that was his name. The other one had not crossed his desk and even after four years he was uncertain of his name. No, it was Duncan something. John frowned; after four years in his Learning Community he should know all the seniors. That was the whole point of it. The other ninth grader was Daniel Murrell. Now there was a parent he would never forget. He watched the boy's mentor calming him down. "Now why can't they all be like that?" He said it to himself, but Karen responded to it.

"It's hard to know what works John."

"I don't know much about most of them and what I do know is all the problems I'd rather not know about." He glanced at her "You know, the broken homes, drug addictions, depression."

"I don't know much more than you." Mandy and Daniel; she wondered if their relationship would survive the summer. The senior, Denver, she did not know him. What was it Simon had said? Denver was cool. Her eye was distracted by the movement of Simon being physically tossed from one big twelfth grader to the other. Simon would not like that. But when they put him down near Daniel he was laughing. John was right; it should all be like that. She looked around for the remaining teenager who had assaulted Daniel. He had drifted back into the crowd.

Daniel let Denver and Mandy calm him down. He felt better. The anger dominated the fear and the bear did not like his anger. He could have waded back into the fight with Jake. If even one of them had seemed sorry for what they had done he could have let it go. His mother had said people change and regret the things they did. Was he supposed to wait until he was old like his mother before one of these guys would come up to him and say he was sorry? He just hoped he did not have a gun in his hand when they did. Simon was joking with Nolan. They did not like Nolan: oil and water. Still, after their fight, the bully had dropped a shield around them that had even protected them from the gangs a little. Simon and Daniel could make their peace with him. Daniel could forget him and move on.

Denver thought that the encounter had gone well. He did not need Daniel battered a second time, but it had been good to see him react the way he did. He gave Daniel and Mandy his funny money and told them to go back to their fun. He went over to the bleachers to make a quick call to his father. His father had agreed to keep an eye on Karl for him. Karl would be okay. It had been mild this time. Denver had made his decision now and he just had to explain it to his dad. It would not go over well, but Denver wanted a year to help Karl with the Brass Lantern. Maybe if he went to community college and studied food preparation or business his dad would figure he was not completely wasting his time.

Denver watched Daniel looking over Mandy's shoulder at the Blackjack table. I might have gone over to Emma Wallace that day. Just an odd switch at the last minute. Would Denver have bid on Daniel if he had not seen Daniel defy Troy in that art room? That was hard to say. Jake, not Troy, I might have stopped bidding for Christ sake. I might have been distracted by the TV and Jake would have had the last bid. Poor kid, Denver reflected, he always seemed to stand up for himself and it always ended badly. Denver noticed Daniel scanning the room. He seemed to find someone because his face broke into a bright smile. Denver followed Daniel's gaze, but it merely ended in a clump of ninth graders. Then Denver recognized the an equally cheerful Laine. Good, Denver reflected, that might be very good. Despite the turmoil of the year Denver thought that showed Daniel remained the bright faced youth he had met a June before.

One of the new teachers sat down next to him on the bench. He glanced over at her. "You're Denver, Daniel's friend." He liked that she didn't call him Daniel's senior. "I just wanted to meet you before you graduated." He did not know what she wanted. He hoped she was not going to blame him for all the problems Daniel had experienced. With Karl in the hospital and his coming confrontations with both his father and young friend, he could not call up his usual charm. "How is he doing?"

"It has been hard on him. Seeing one of those bastards always sets him back. I think he will be okay. He has a mother who knows what he is going through." Denver suddenly did not know why he had said all that to this woman.

Karen thought about Daniel's cheerful presence in her classroom, his girlfriend, she was moved by his life. It hurt to think of this bright soul degraded and hurt. "I don't understand why anyone could want to do that." Karen blushed a little. it was a rather personal remark for a teacher to make about one student to another. She was a humbler teacher now. She knew she could have favorites.

"He isn't alone. You're Ms. Cannon?" It had suddenly come to him. She nodded back. "They talk about you in the grade twelve classes you know? They say you're the bitch who babies the freshies and spoils everybody's fun." He smiled at her to take the sting out of his words.

"And Simon says you're cool." Her reputation had come to mean a great deal to her.

Simon, what a funny kid Daniel had latched on to there. Who could take him seriously except Daniel? Denver looked back at Daniel and Mandy. He had been feeling like a failure since the assault in the alley. Watching Daniel hanging on Mandy, whispering advice while she played cards, he suddenly felt much better. Denver had been hurt protecting some anonymous boy and Daniel had maintained his self respect defending Mandy. That had to be important.

Three young girls pulled the teacher away to watch something. It was time for him to get involved too. He searched out Clair and the two grads joined their partners.

* ** *

Arlo was at loose ends. He had run through the funny money and realized he did not really connect with any of the other ninth graders. He sat on the bleacher watching them. Laine was across the room with Peter, Evan and Henry, Arlo's former friends. Daniel was hanging out with his senior and Mandy. As Arlo watched Simon bumped Daniel and Daniel shoved him back with a smile before turning his attention back to Mandy.

Arlo was hurt that Daniel treated that prick Simon better than he did him. Almost a year and Daniel had gone from being tight to up-tight. They had not been alone since that last time in July. Daniel had been cold when he visited him in the hospital. Daniel had seemed almost sorry his best friend had come to see how he was. Arlo knew Daniel still blamed him for the run-in with the seniors outside the school. Arlo caught Mandy's eye and she smiled brightly back at him. She tried so hard to see that Arlo was happy. Mandy pointed repeatedly in the direction of Laine and mantomimed that Arlo should go over and talk with him. Arlo shrugged his shoulders and watched Laine as he goofed around with Peter and a tall black boy he did not know. Laine had made his feeling's pretty clear. Donald was waiting to take him to a more interesting party. Donald was talking about the freshie he was going to get. The new Freshie-Bay site would not be up yet, but Donald knew exactly what he was looking for. Arlo planned to be around when Donald met his new freshie. It was not going to be like his first experience. It would be cool, like Daniel's. Arlo would see to that. Arlo did not to saddle himself with a good boy who was shy about sex like Laine.

* ** *

Mandy frowned slightly at Arlo. She was sure he had caught her hint. Laine and Arlo would be so good together. She turned her attention back to Daniel. she did not feel like finishing the evening with Clair She wanted to stay with Daniel. It was so easy to be with him. Above everything they were friends. Daniel was patient and gentle to her. Mandy had sat and listened to that slut Amber Klein gush about her new eleventh grade boyfriend. They were so much alike it was destiny. They shared the same music tastes, movies, foods - the list just went on. Was it that way with Daniel, Amber had asked Mandy. Mandy had mumbled something in reply. Daniel was so different from her. There were sides to him she did not understand yet. There was no rush really; they were giving themselves plenty of time to figure each other out. She smiled at Daniel as he squinted at her cards imagining he knew what he was doing. He caught her gaze, "Daniel."

"Yeh?" he was momentarily lost in her eyes.

"Tomorrow night?" he nodded back and returned his attention to the table. She handed him the cards and gave him a kiss on the cheek before she slipped away with Clair. She had lost him to the cards. Just before she left she turned back to look. He had turned to watch her, as if to see if she would turn around.


Daniel and Denver, Friday evening

With Mandy gone Daniel quickly lost interest in the evening. Laine was across the room with his other friends. It would have been nice to talk with him for a while. He wanted to reasure Laine he was fine and find out why he had been so upset when they had talked Thursday night. Daniel moved away from the table until he could see where Laine stood talking with his lunch buddies. Laine's face turned his way and they smiled simultaneously. The familiar fluttering started and Daniel had an urge to close the distance. Laine signaled an offer to meet and raised an eyebrow suggestively. Such a temptation, but Daniel shrugged his shoulders and shook his head slightly. The place was wrong and Daniel was preoccupied with thoughts of unfinished business with Denver. He mouthed later at Laine and turned back to where Denver waited. Daniel handed his play money to the person next to him and nudged Denver to get his attention. It was time to go.

Daniel felt shy when they got outside. They followed the ramp down to the street. It was early, but there were already other groups of people chatting under the watchful eyes of two security guards. Daniel kept close to Denver intentionally letting his shoulder brush against the taller boy's arm. There was a companionable silence between them as they moved down the sidewalk to where Denver had left the Echo.

"I'll miss this Denver."

"Miss what, hanging out together? I'm not going anywhere Daniel."

"Yes you are. You are graduating. I mean I will miss your being at school. I guess I also mean I will miss being your freshie."

"You can't be serious Daniel; after everything that has happened?" Denver turned his head so Daniel would not see his face. He was still blown away by Jake's confession that Daniel had been forced in the alley. Denver continued after a pause, his voice slightly strangled, "It all went so wrong."


That left a silence until they reached the car. Denver sat on the hood of his car and shoved his hands into his coat pocket. Daniel's response had left him uncertain. It seemed best to let his young friend guide the moment for a while. Daniel leaned on the car close to him. Denver could easily reach out and caress Daniels neck and hair. Of course Jake had wanted Daniel. Denver understood that completely and he also understood why despite everything the other senior still compulsively shadowed Daniel. Denver had a passing curiosity about the boy who had hurled himself at Jake in the alley. Daniel's pose; the boy drew people to him.

As if to prove the point a pair of elderly women approached them on a late evening summer stroll. They were linked arm and arm. The occasional whoop and laugh from the students still circulating around the gym doors might have made the ladies nervous. They eyed the two boys loitering beside the car as they passed. Daniel's light tenor voice sweetly wished them a good evening and Denver was bemused by the smiles that broke out on the worn faces. It was a Daniel sort of moment and Denver realized he would miss it too.

Denver bravely asked Daniel what he wanted to do. Daniel asked him if he would mind driving over to the 7th Avenue School for a few minutes. They parked the Echo near where Daniel had first met Mark, Amber and Amanda. It was late and the streets were empty. A few security lights glowed from the classroom windows offering the occasional pool of light along the sidewalk. Denver let Daniel lead him toward the front entrance where they had paused to phone his mother. The school marquee announced the coming exam schedule. Soon the eighth graders would be answering questionnaires in the computer lab and the oppression of ninth grade at Riverview High School would loom larger.

"Thanks Denver."

"For what?"

"For being my senior and treating me like I was more than your kid brother" Daniel looked down and kicked the cement sidewalk. "Do you remember picture day?" Denver did "You scared me. You were this big tower staring at me all the time. When Troy started hurting everyone and pushed me into that desk I was sure I wasn't going to be able to handle grade nine."

"And then I hit you too."

"Yes. Anyway, after I knew you were on my side I never really felt alone. Are you worried if we do stuff together you will break up with Mark?" Daniel said it all in a rush.

Sometimes he seemed very young to Denver. The eighteen-year-old knew the fourteen-year-old was not an alternative to Mark. Denver did not want to try and explain love to Daniel or how Denver could want both of them but also know he needed to stay with the older one.

"I guess I was just looking for a way to say goodbye. I don't want you to think I want to be your lover." Denver tried hard not to smile. Daniel looked so serious.

"I've got you working sixteen hours a week this summer kid; you are going to see a lot of me." Daniel smiled at him.

Daniel wished they could have gone inside, but instead he leaned against the front door and looked out into the summer night. Denver looked at him from a bench along the side walk. "You spent a lot of money for me." he glanced over at Denver. "Were you planning on sleeping with me?"

Denver stirred before answering. "You were a hot guy and I wanted you." Denver had not thought Daniel would ask this and he was caught off guard. "I guess I thought that was the way things were going to go with us." Denver would take care of Daniel and maybe get to lay him. Daniel was still as he leaned against the door. "By the Freshie Party I realized it was wrong. I'm really sorry. I'm really sorry for everything."

"Do you still want me?"

Now there was a question that called for careful scripting and of course Denver had left his mental notes behind. So much could be said about the relationships they were in. But Mark and Mandy never seemed to matter when Denver and Daniel were drawn to each other. Denver tried to step outside of himself for a moment and try to see them together. What had the two women seen? A tall eighteen-year-old lean to the point of thinness with a shock of hair that always seemed to need a trim; Denver always felt unlovely with his angular face, scattered blemishes and toothy grin. Daniel had matured over the year but he was still the trim boy bouncing on his toes in the eighth grade line outside the art room door. Of course Denver still wanted Daniel. The wonder was Daniel seemed to still want Denver too.

"Meh" Denver offered noncommittally. Daniel swung around and looked at Denver with wide-eyed surprise. That was priceless. It was an unguarded Daniel moment. It was the confusion of rejection. Daniel's eyes narrowed slightly and then he turned away. Denver's evasion had clearly ruffled his dignity. Denver imagined Daniel cat-like recovering from a missed pounce. Denver let that hang between them as a few kids walked by. The boys and girls stopped their chatter as they paused on the side walk to watch the high school boys at the door.

Daniel thought he recognized them. Two of them were a year behind him and the sight of Denver must have reminded them of their coming Freshie Year. "We both need to move on now." Denver commented beside him. Daniel ignored the remark and turned into Denver until he stood facing him. Daniel smiled when Denver took the end of his belt and drew him closer. This was the real answer Daniel had been listening for. He let Denver play with the belt end for a moment and then pulled away. He gestured for Denver to follow him.

"Where to?" Denver called after him. Daniel turned back to look at him.

"Is your dad home?"

"Yes." Ouch, Daniel winced, that part of Daniel's fantasy was not going to work out.

"Let's go to the Lantern okay?"

The conversation over to the Brass Lantern shifted to Karl's health and Denver's plan to work instead of study. Daniel surprised Denver when he asked him to stop a couple of blocks from the restaurant. It took Denver a moment to understand where they were. Daniel told him he would meet him at the restaurant. He assured him he would be fine. They looked at each other for a moment and then with mixed feelings Denver left him on the street.

Daniel walked slowly down the alley. Memories flashed past him and he unconsciously held his arm. When he crossed the busy street he was suddenly struck by the amount of traffic: so many people and so little interest. He paused about where he thought the boys had used him. Their shadows hung around him; echoes of soft grunts and obscenities, the smell of beer. His counselor had been skeptical when he had said he had been prepared for it. He still thought he was right. What he had not been prepared for was dealing with his feelings afterward. The thing with dark alleys was learning to live with the memories. Life, his mother had whispered one night when she had heard him crying, is full of scars. You try to hide them or pick at them so they remain open wounds then they will consume you. You carry them with dignity they will be a strength you can lend to others.

Could Daniel stand at the mouth of the next alley and walk down it a second time knowing that when he finally stumbled into the light at the other end...? Daniel looked up at the clear sky. After he had returned to class Ms. Cannon had made them read a story about a traveling salesman. He picks up a boy on the highway because he looks like he needs a sympathetic hand. The boy shoots him. What was it the man had thought just before he died? Even though he was about to die he knew he had still done the right thing. People in class had said the man was stupid. Daniel had listened to them silently. Usually he could find something to say during class. Ms. Cannon had been watching him and he knew she wanted him to respond to the story. The story had hit home to him but he did not want to share his thoughts with the class. Nobody seriously plans to get hurt. The man did not plan to die when he picked up the kid. He just took a risk. Daniel had not expected the boys to beat him. Daniel admired Mandy's mom a great deal. Cops did not plan to get hurt either; but they walked into the dark alleys. Sometimes you pass through shadow to get to the light. There was healing power in the light. Daniel looked down the final length of the alley. The back door was open and the light from the Brass Lantern mixed with the moon light. Denver had understood. Daniel shuddered once and walked down the alley toward the tall youth caught in the light that spilled from the doorway.

They sat on the futon in Eddie's small room. Eddie's belongings were stacked up one corner of the room and Daniel noticed a few odds and ends from Denver's room above a tiny desk. He pointed them out to Denver. "Are you moving in?"

"No not really, but I have stayed over once and a while." Denver liked the idea of the private space when he was too tired to go home. Karl could have been a carpenter. The storage room had been remodeled in salvaged oak. The stained glass window filling the old doorway behind the futon deserved to be in a better location. Light from the kitchen illuminated it and lent a romantic touch to the moment between them. "I am thinking it should be my office. What do you think?" Denver leaned back on the futon as Daniel examined the room as if it was for the first time. He had a small smile on his lips when he turned back to Denver.

"You and your storage room offices Denver. Is that some sort of fetish you have?" Daniel came up to stand close to Denver. He folded his arms across his chest. "Come into my office Freshie," Daniel mimicked Denver's voice and added a leering quality to it that made Denver chuckle. Denver reached forward, grabbed his belt and drew him closer.

"You're in high school. Follow the rules you'll be fine." Denver gave a couple of playful tugs on the belt, but then his eyes clouded over a moment. He wondered how Daniel could forgive him for all the mistakes he had made.

"Denver," he glanced back at Daniel. "Mistakes have consequences. Isn't that what you said to me?" Denver nodded slightly. "You can't duck Freshie year."

"I was full of shit. I just wanted to lay you."

"What did you really want to do in that storage room Denver?"

Denver tried to remain impassive as he pulled the willing boy forward with a handful of his t-shirt and then down onto his lap. Daniel straddled Denver's thighs obligingly. "What do you say freshie?"

Daniel whispered "Thank you master."

Denver pushed Daniel's shirt off his shoulders and when Daniel had shrugged it off, Daniel pulled his t-shirt over his head. Denver ran his finger tips over Daniel's torso and tickled the dark hairs in his arm pits. Daniel played with Denver's shirt as Denver unbuckled his pants. After that, as they fell to kissing, Denver tugged at the jeans working them lower down Daniel's hips. He tired of the effort and pushed Daniel down on the bed beside him so he could strip him.

"Are you going to touch my cock tonight?" Daniel's eyes sparkled as he lay there.

"Right and are you going to touch mine?" Denver bent down and kissed Daniel's cock lightly.

"Are you going to spank me?"

"Did you like it when I did?"

Daniel shook his head. "Actually I never did. I liked it when you held me though."

"Oh God Daniel I am so sorry for everything." Daniel sat up and climbed back onto Denver. There was nothing compliant about his movements as he pulled Denver's shirt off. Daniel's fingers touched the hair on Denver's chest before cupping his hands on either side of Denver's mouth and drawing him close for a kiss. They kissed for a long time in the dappled light cast by the stained glass window behind them. They each loved the strength beneath their hands.

After a time they fell to nuzzling each other and letting their hands wander. "Danny?" Denver asked in Daniel's ear as he kissed Daniel's neck.

"Hmmm?" Daniel murmured back letting his erect cock rub against the studs on Denver's belt.

"I have something I want to give you." Daniel sat up expectantly. Denver squeezed his cock once before holding him by the hips lightly. "Grab my coat over there." Denver pointed to where his battered letter jacket lay. Daniel reached for it while he made an effort to hold his position on Denver's lap. Denver could not resist patting Daniel's cute butt as he searched through the coat pockets. Denver did rather like smacking the soft flesh, but he remembered what Daniel had said. "No, just bring that here." Denver slipped a hand under Daniel's waist and pulled the boy back into his lap. Daniel settled back on him and glanced at him expectantly.

"Look, I know you bought a jacket in the fall. It's just, for a while now I have wanted to give you this one. Just let me explain, okay?" Denver fingered the worn leather sleeve and the touched a dark stain on the cuff. "I didn't buy this jacket. See the name here on the inside?" Denver turned the jacket over to show where a name had been sewn into the lining under the inside pocket. "Tray was a friend when I was in grade ten. When he graduated he gave me his jacket."

"So you slept with him?" Denver was instantly reminded of Daniel's youth.

"No man, he was a straight as straight, a Born Again Christian. He was so sure I was going to hell. The thing is we became friends anyway."

"Where is he now?" Daniel turned the jacket over so he could see Denver's name on the sleeve.

"I don't know. I think he planned to join the armed forces." Denver ran a hand along Daniel's bicep. "He told me there was not much point in wearing a high school jacket once you graduate and I guess I agree with him. My time at Riverview is done. It is your turf now. So do think you want the jacket? I know you have a newer one but..." Daniel stopped the words with a fierce kiss.

"It's very cool Denver." Daniel swept the jacket around and put it on.

"Let's get a look at you." It meant a lot to see Daniel in the jacket. "It's gonna be really big on you for a while." He watched as Daniel stood to model it for him.

"I'll never grow into this thing."

"Sure you will. You've changed a lot in the last year."

"You think?" Daniel paused his inspection to look at Denver and then returned to playing with the coat.

"Oh my God Danny"


Denver was struck dumb by the sight of Daniel's full globes peaking out beneath the waist band of the bomber jacket and soft curls above his full cock. Finally words came to Denver, "Nobody ever looked that good in that jacket." Daniel smiled his gratitude and came back over to Denver. They kissed before Denver pushed him down on the futon. He lay there as Denver stripped his own clothes off and dropped to his knees beside the bed. He paused before dropping his head into Daniel's lap. "I don't know Danny; every time I see you in that jacket I'm going to remember this."


They left words behind them until like a volcano Daniel raised violently beneath his lips and tongue. Daniel groaned softly and tore at the coverings on the futon. Denver kissed the boy's soft scrotum enjoying the salt and musk. He was desperate to travel deeper between Daniel's thighs. Denver's cock ached with each beat of his heart. He chanced pushing Daniel's legs apart and kissed the hard mound behind Daniel's scrotum. Daniel grabbed his hair and pulled his head up.


Denver responded by climbing the length of Daniel's torso in one quick motion. They kissed until Daniel pulled Denver's head away once more and looked into his eyes.

"Make love to me" Daniel urged. He needed Denver in him.

"Danny are you sure? You have been through so much. It's okay."

Daniel stared back at Denver caught by the look of concern. He could feel Denver's strength pressing into his belly and it simply made his urgency stronger. When Denver continued to stare at him it came to Daniel that Denver knew everything about the alley. Daniel must have telegraphed this to Denver.

"Jake told me" Daniel accused him with a look. "I told you we were not going to let it go." Daniel so wished they had. He wondered who they were and remembered with a sinking feeling Simon and Laine's absence from the Thursday run. So they all knew now.

"So you had words with Jake?"

"Words and a blow, not the nice kind either." Daniel noted Denver's attempt at humor and the soft look of appeal in his eyes. "Daniel I could have killed him for doing that to you."

"As best as I can remember Jake passed out before his buddies laid me out on the hood of the car." Daniel said it absently as if it was a thing of little consequence. Denver wrapped his arms around Daniel and crushed him for a moment. "Denver" Daniel poked him in the side to get him to ease up. "Make love to me." Denver nodded and their lips joined again. Daniel wrapped his legs around Denver's hips and closed his eyes as Denver's hard organ slid across his own spent manhood.

Denver pulled Daniel up in his arms and rose to his feet. They moved joined together at hips and lips out into Karl's kitchen. Daniel's curiosity got the better of him and he broke the kiss to look around the spotless kitchen. Daniel massaged Denver's shaft as Denver carried him about the kitchen. They ended their journey at the chopping block after Denver had snagged a plastic jug of virgin olive oil.

"This isn't the salad station Denver." Daniel commented when Denver dropped him on the oiled wood.

"No we are dealing with meat."

"What is Karl gonna say?" Daniel made a small protest when Denver pulled the jacket off him and tossed it across the room.


The older boy leered at him as he pushed Daniel back onto the table and then Denver rested the heavy jug of oil on Daniel's abs. Daniel's eyes shifted between Denver's face and the milk white plastic jug until he understood what Denver wanted. He unscrewed the cap and watched as Denver poured a dollop of oil over their mingled organs. As an afterthought Denver splashed a healthy amount on Daniel's chest and abs. He held the bottle steady while Daniel screwed the cap back on and then Denver slammed the bottle down on the chopping block. Denver glistening spear was already sliding up and down Daniel's slick crack when Denver pulled his knees up to his chest.

Denver pushed his swollen head through Daniel's tight ring of muscles and then paused to smile at Daniel. "Last time right?"

Daniel closed his eyes as Denver slid both hands over his slick chest spreading the oil across his erect nipples. Denver thrust his cock deep into Daniel with a single stroke. Daniel's breath caught at the sudden intrusion and then he sighed an answer to his friend.

"We'll see"


(to be continued)


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